10 Things You Never Knew about Medical Assisting
We believe in Medical Assisting at Ameritech College of Healthcare. We’ve worked in the field since 1979, and we’re proud to offer the most affordable private Medical Assistant program in Utah. Over the decades we’ve learned many facts about Medical Assisting—including the fact that many people have a lot of misconceptions about the work. If you’re interested in becoming a Medical Assistant, there are many things you need to know, and here are 10 you probably don’t.
1. Medical Assisting is a career.
On one hand, that’s obvious. Medical Assisting is often cited as one of the fastest growing careers. On the other hand, many people perceive Medical Assisting as just a stepping stone toward other things, forgetting it’s a bona fide profession, a career choice in and of itself. Many Medical Assistants remain in the field for their whole lives because they love the work.
2. The Medical Assisting specialties are limitless.
One of the attractive facts about Medical Assisting is its variety. Medical Assistants work with every kind of doctor and in every kind of medical practice. Whether you’re interested in obstetrics, podiatry, or medical weight loss, there are Medical Assisting positions in that specialty.
Related Resource: Signs You Might Be a Great Pediatric Medical Assistant
3. So are the career tracks.
Your first Medical Assisting job is rarely the end of the story of your career. While some MAs do stay with the same doctor and practice until they retire, most branch out to experience work in larger or smaller or different specialty offices. Some Medical Assistants become nurses, radiologists, or physician assistants. Some gradually become office managers of their practice. Some pursue higher education and become Medical Assisting instructors. The career options for Medical Assistants are as limitless as the specialty tracks.
Related Resource: The Most (and Least) Expected Places to Work As a Medical Assistant
4. Medical Assistants are under MD jurisdiction.
Unlike nurses, who work under the Nursing Practice Act, Medical Assistants work directly under medical doctors, and so are under their jurisdiction. This means MAs can perform any duties their physician or practice has trained them to do competently. Beyond vitals and patient preparation, Medical Assistants may collect blood, run ECGs, or even take out stitches, depending on their practice.
5. Who runs the office? Medical Assistants.
Receptionists and the front office have a lot of control in how things operate, but ultimately patient flow—going from the waiting room to waiting in the exam room to seeing the physician—is usually up to Medical Assistants. They communicate between the front and back offices and so are responsible for moving patients through both. Depending on the size of the practice, it may be that Medical Assistants run the front office all by themselves, responsible for scheduling and patient care.
6. The field changes constantly.
Even if Medical Assistants never move to a different practice, the job changes as much as healthcare in general does: i.e. a lot. The work always requires learning and adaptation, because new innovations arise constantly.
7. Medical Assistants don’t do diapers or bedpans.
Of course, there are exceptions, but Medical Assistants are trained to work in ambulatory care facilities, not longterm patient care. The work can still be messy at times, and it isn’t uncommon to see blood, but Medical Assistants rarely have to bathe, change, or clean sick patients, like in many healthcare positions.
8. The work is meaningful.
Some Medical Assistants enter the field just because they need a job, but most are interested in something more. Medical Assisting, like all work in the healthcare field, can change lives. It’s a profession that requires nurturing and compassion, which makes it a meaningful career for almost everyone who chooses it.
Related Resource: Why Your Demeanor Matters As a Medical Assistant
9. In clinics, Medical Assistants and doctors are equal.
Maybe not in medical authority or education levels, but from an HR perspective both doctors and Medical Assistants are equal as employees of the practice. One of the lesser known facts about Medical Assisting, this can and should be empowering to anyone entering the field. Medical Assistants are healthcare professionals, just like medical doctors—and just like them, in the eyes of the clinic, they’re employees contributing to the business of patient care.
10. Certification (and education) matters.
While it’s true you can become a Medical Assistant through on-the-job-training, the CMA (AAMA), the gold standard of MA certification exams, requires education—and for good reason. Studying Medical Assisting doesn’t just give you better credentials: It makes you better at your work, your demeanor with patients, and your preparedness for advancing your career.
At Ameritech College of Healthcare we’re committed to making our MA students be the very best Medical Assistants possible, and our curriculum is built around that conviction. If you’re interested in becoming a Medical Assistant, you can earn your degree in less than a year with our program. Contact us for more information. As always, we’d love to hear from you!